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Course 8: Physics
Fall 2024


Undergraduate Subjects

8.006 Exploring Physics Using Python
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: None. Coreq: 6.100L; or permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule Lecture: F10-12 (2-146)
______
Reviews and reinforces 6.100L topics, making connections and studying interesting physical systems (from abstract knowledge of concepts to modeling, coding, and evaluating results) that are relevant to physicists. Classes are active and interactive. Students apply programming skills to introductory physics problems and explore the role of simulations on physics. Limited to 12.
M. Heine
No textbook information available

8.01 Physics I
______

Undergrad (Fall) Physics I
Prereq: None
Units: 3-2-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.011, 8.012, 8.01L, ES.801, ES.8012
Add to schedule Lecture: MW9-10.30,F9 (26-152) or MW11-12.30,F11 (26-152) or MW1-2.30,F1 (26-152) or MW3-4.30,F3 (26-152) or TR9-10.30,F10 (26-152) or TR11-12.30,F12 (26-152) or TR3-4.30,F4 (26-152) +final
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Introduces classical mechanics. Space and time: straight-line kinematics; motion in a plane; forces and static equilibrium; particle dynamics, with force and conservation of momentum; relative inertial frames and non-inertial force; work, potential energy and conservation of energy; kinetic theory and the ideal gas; rigid bodies and rotational dynamics; vibrational motion; conservation of angular momentum; central force motions; fluid mechanics. Subject taught using the TEAL (Technology-Enabled Active Learning) format which features students working in groups of three, discussing concepts, solving problems, and doing table-top experiments with the aid of computer data acquisition and analysis.
C. Paus, P. Dourmashkin
No textbook information available

8.011 Physics I
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Undergrad (Spring) Physics I
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.01, 8.012, 8.01L, ES.801, ES.8012
______
Introduces classical mechanics. Space and time: straight-line kinematics; motion in a plane; forces and equilibrium; experimental basis of Newton's laws; particle dynamics; universal gravitation; collisions and conservation laws; work and potential energy; vibrational motion; conservative forces; inertial forces and non-inertial frames; central force motions; rigid bodies and rotational dynamics. Designed for students with previous experience in 8.01; the subject is designated as 8.01 on the transcript.
Staff

8.012 Physics I
______

Undergrad (Fall) Physics I
Prereq: None
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.01, 8.011, 8.01L, ES.801, ES.8012
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9-10.30 (6-120) Recitation: MW10 (26-204) or MW11 (26-204) or MW1 (26-314) or MW2 (26-314) +final
______
Elementary mechanics, presented in greater depth than in 8.01. Newton's laws, concepts of momentum, energy, angular momentum, rigid body motion, and non-inertial systems. Uses elementary calculus freely; concurrent registration in a math subject more advanced than 18.01 is recommended. In addition to covering the theoretical subject matter, students complete a small experimental project of their own design. First-year students admitted via AP or Math Diagnostic for Physics Placement results.
L. Necib
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.01L Physics I
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Undergrad (Fall, IAP) Physics I
Prereq: None
Units: 3-2-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.01, 8.011, 8.012, ES.801, ES.8012
Add to schedule Final exam during iap. Lecture: TR9.30-11,F3-4.30 (32-082)
______
Introduction to classical mechanics (see description under 8.01). Includes components of the TEAL (Technology-Enabled Active Learning) format. Material covered over a longer interval so that the subject is completed by the end of the IAP. Substantial emphasis given to reviewing and strengthening necessary mathematics tools, as well as basic physics concepts and problem-solving skills. Content, depth, and difficulty is otherwise identical to that of 8.01. The subject is designated as 8.01 on the transcript.
R. Milner
No textbook information available

8.02 Physics II
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Physics II
Prereq: Calculus I (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-2-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.021, 8.022, ES.802, ES.8022
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW9-10.30,F9 (32-082) or TR1.30-3,F1.30 (32-082) +final
______
Introduction to electromagnetism and electrostatics: electric charge, Coulomb's law, electric structure of matter; conductors and dielectrics. Concepts of electrostatic field and potential, electrostatic energy. Electric currents, magnetic fields and Ampere's law. Magnetic materials. Time-varying fields and Faraday's law of induction. Basic electric circuits. Electromagnetic waves and Maxwell's equations. Subject taught using the TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) studio format which utilizes small group interaction and current technology to help students develop intuition about, and conceptual models of, physical phenomena.
P. Dourmashkin
No textbook information available

8.021 Physics II
______

Undergrad (Fall) Physics II
Prereq: Calculus I (GIR), Physics I (GIR), and permission of instructor
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.02, 8.022, ES.802, ES.8022
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1-2.30 (35-310) Lab: F11 (26-210) Recitation: W1 (26-204)
______
Introduction to electromagnetism and electrostatics: electric charge, Coulomb's law, electric structure of matter; conductors and dielectrics. Concepts of electrostatic field and potential, electrostatic energy. Electric currents, magnetic fields and Ampere's law. Magnetic materials. Time-varying fields and Faraday's law of induction. Basic electric circuits. Electromagnetic waves and Maxwell's equations. Designed for students with previous experience in 8.02; the subject is designated as 8.02 on the transcript. Enrollment limited.
E. Katsavounidis
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.022 Physics II
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Physics II
Prereq: Physics I (GIR); Coreq: Calculus II (GIR)
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.02, 8.021, ES.802, ES.8022
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2-3.30 (6-120) Recitation: MW10 (26-210) or MW1 (26-210) +final
______
Parallel to 8.02, but more advanced mathematically. Some knowledge of vector calculus assumed. Maxwell's equations, in both differential and integral form. Electrostatic and magnetic vector potential. Properties of dielectrics and magnetic materials. In addition to the theoretical subject matter, several experiments in electricity and magnetism are performed by the students in the laboratory.
J. Checkelsky
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.03 Physics III
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics II (GIR)
Units: 5-0-7
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11.30-1 (32-082) Recitation: MW10 (26-314) or MW11 (26-314) or MW1 (26-328) or MW2 (26-328) +final
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Mechanical vibrations and waves; simple harmonic motion, superposition, forced vibrations and resonance, coupled oscillations, and normal modes; vibrations of continuous systems; reflection and refraction; phase and group velocity. Optics; wave solutions to Maxwell's equations; polarization; Snell's Law, interference, Huygens's principle, Fraunhofer diffraction, and gratings.
A. Vanderburg
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.033 Relativity
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Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics II (GIR)
Units: 5-0-7
Add to schedule Lecture: MW2-3.30 (6-120) Recitation: TR1 (56-162) or TR2 (56-162) +final
______
Einstein's postulates; consequences for simultaneity, time dilation, length contraction, and clock synchronization; Lorentz transformation; relativistic effects and paradoxes; Minkowski diagrams; invariants and four-vectors; momentum, energy, and mass; particle collisions. Relativity and electricity; Coulomb's law; magnetic fields. Brief introduction to Newtonian cosmology. Introduction to some concepts of general relativity; principle of equivalence. The Schwarzchild metric; gravitational red shift; particle and light trajectories; geodesics; Shapiro delay.
S. Hughes
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.04 Quantum Physics I
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Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: 8.03 and (18.03 or 18.032)
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.041
______
Experimental basis of quantum physics: photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, photons, Franck-Hertz experiment, the Bohr atom, electron diffraction, deBroglie waves, and wave-particle duality of matter and light. Introduction to wave mechanics: Schroedinger's equation, wave functions, wave packets, probability amplitudes, stationary states, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and zero-point energies. Solutions to Schroedinger's equation in one dimension: transmission and reflection at a barrier, barrier penetration, potential wells, the simple harmonic oscillator. Schroedinger's equation in three dimensions: central potentials and introduction to hydrogenic systems.
Staff

8.041 Quantum Physics I
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: 8.03 and (18.03 or 18.032)
Units: 2-0-10
Credit cannot also be received for 8.04
Add to schedule Recitation: TR11 (4-231) +final
______
Blended version of 8.04 using a combination of online and in-person instruction. Covers the experimental basis of quantum physics: Mach-Zender interferometers, the photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, and de Broglie waves. Heisenberg uncertainty principle and momentum space. Introduction to wave mechanics: Schroedinger's equation, probability amplitudes, and wave packets. Stationary states and the spectrum of one-dimensional potentials, including the variational principle, the Hellmann-Feynman lemma, the virial theorem, and the harmonic oscillator. Basics of angular momentum, central potentials, and the hydrogen atom. Introduction to the Stern-Gerlach experiment, spin one-half, spin operators, and spin states.
B. Zwiebach
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.044 Statistical Physics I
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: 8.03 and 18.03
Units: 5-0-7
______
Introduction to probability, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics. Random variables, joint and conditional probability densities, and functions of a random variable. Concepts of macroscopic variables and thermodynamic equilibrium, fundamental assumption of statistical mechanics, microcanonical and canonical ensembles. First, second, and third laws of thermodynamics. Numerous examples illustrating a wide variety of physical phenomena such as magnetism, polyatomic gases, thermal radiation, electrons in solids, and noise in electronic devices. Concurrent enrollment in 8.04 is recommended.
Staff

8.05 Quantum Physics II
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 8.04 or 8.041
Units: 5-0-7
Credit cannot also be received for 8.051
Add to schedule Lecture: MW12.30-2 (6-120) Recitation: TR10 (26-142) or TR11 (26-142) or TR1 (26-314) or TR2 (26-314) +final
______
Vector spaces, linear operators, and matrix representations.  Inner products and adjoint operators. Commutator identities. Dirac's Bra-kets. Uncertainty principle and energy-time version. Spectral theorem and complete set of commuting observables. Schrodinger and Heisenberg pictures.  Axioms of quantum mechanics. Coherent states and nuclear magnetic resonance. Multiparticle states and tensor products. Quantum teleportation, EPR and Bell inequalities. Angular momentum and central potentials. Addition of angular momentum. Density matrices, pure and mixed states, decoherence.
S. Choi
No textbook information available

8.051 Quantum Physics II
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: 8.04 and permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-10
Credit cannot also be received for 8.05
______
Blended version of 8.05 using a combination of online and in-person instruction. Together with 8.06 covers quantum physics with applications drawn from modern physics. General formalism of quantum mechanics: states, operators, Dirac notation, representations, measurement theory. Harmonic oscillator: operator algebra, states. Quantum mechanics in three dimensions: central potentials and the radial equation, bound and scattering states, qualitative analysis of wave functions. Angular momentum: operators, commutator algebra, eigenvalues and eigenstates, spherical harmonics. Spin: Stern-Gerlach devices and measurements, nuclear magnetic resonance, spin and statistics. Addition of angular momentum: Clebsch-Gordan series and coefficients, spin systems, and allotropic forms of hydrogen. Limited to 20.
Staff

8.06 Quantum Physics III
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: 8.05
Units: 5-0-7
______
Continuation of 8.05. Units: natural units, scales of microscopic phenomena, applications. Time-independent approximation methods: degenerate and nondegenerate perturbation theory, variational method, Born-Oppenheimer approximation, applications to atomic and molecular systems. The structure of one- and two-electron atoms: overview, spin-orbit and relativistic corrections, fine structure, variational approximation, screening, Zeeman and Stark effects. Charged particles in a magnetic field: Landau levels and integer quantum hall effect. Scattering: general principles, partial waves, review of one-dimension, low-energy approximations, resonance, Born approximation. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Students research and write a paper on a topic related to the content of 8.05 and 8.06.
Staff

8.07 Electromagnetism II
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 8.03 and 18.03
Units: 4-0-8
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (6-120) Recitation: MW1 (13-5101) or MW2 (13-5101) +final
______
Survey of basic electromagnetic phenomena: electrostatics, magnetostatics; electromagnetic properties of matter. Time-dependent electromagnetic fields and Maxwell's equations. Electromagnetic waves, emission, absorption, and scattering of radiation. Relativistic electrodynamics and mechanics.
L. Fu
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.08 Statistical Physics II
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Prereq: 8.044 and 8.05
Units: 4-0-8
______
Probability distributions for classical and quantum systems. Microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical partition-functions and associated thermodynamic potentials. Conditions of thermodynamic equilibrium for homogenous and heterogenous systems. Applications: non-interacting Bose and Fermi gases; mean field theories for real gases, binary mixtures, magnetic systems, polymer solutions; phase and reaction equilibria, critical phenomena. Fluctuations, correlation functions and susceptibilities, and Kubo formulae. Evolution of distribution functions: Boltzmann and Smoluchowski equations.
J. Tailleur

8.09 Classical Mechanics III
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 8.309)
Prereq: 8.223
Units: 4-0-8
______
Covers Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, systems with constraints, rigid body dynamics, vibrations, central forces, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables, perturbation theory, and continuous systems. Provides an introduction to ideal and viscous fluid mechanics, including turbulence, as well as an introduction to nonlinear dynamics, including chaos. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
Staff

Undergraduate Laboratory and Special Project Subjects

8.10 Exploring and Communicating Physics (and other) Frontiers
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-0 [P/D/F]
______
Features a series of 12 interactive sessions that span a wide variety of topics at the frontiers of science - e.g., quantum computing, dark matter, the nature of time - and encourage independent thinking. Discussions draw from the professor's published pieces in periodicals as well as short excerpts from his books.  Also discusses, through case studies, the process of writing and re-writing. Subject can count toward the 6-unit discovery-focused credit limit for first year students.
F. Wilczek

8.13 Experimental Physics I
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Institute Lab
Prereq: 8.04
Units: 0-6-12
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lab: MW9-12 (4-361) or MW2-5 (4-361) or TR9-12 (4-361) or TR2-5 (4-361)
______
First in a two-term advanced laboratory sequence in modern physics focusing on the professional and personal development of the student as a scientist through the medium of experimental physics. Experimental options cover special relativity, experimental foundations of quantum mechanics, atomic structure and optics, statistical mechanics, and nuclear and particle physics. Uses modern physics experiments to develop laboratory technique, systematic troubleshooting, professional scientific attitude, data analysis skills and reasoning about uncertainty. Provides extensive training in oral and written communication methods. Limited to 12 students per section.
J. Conrad
No textbook information available

8.14 Experimental Physics II
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: 8.05 and 8.13
Units: 0-6-12
______
Second in a two-term advanced laboratory sequence in modern physics focusing on the professional and personal development of the student as a scientist through the medium of experimental physics. Experimental options cover special relativity, experimental foundations of quantum mechanics, atomic structure and optics, statistical mechanics, and nuclear and particle physics. Uses modern physics experiments to develop laboratory technique, systematic troubleshooting, professional scientific attitude, data analysis skills, and reasoning about uncertainty; provides extensive training in oral and written communication methods. Continues 8.13 practice in these skills using more advanced experiments and adds an exploratory project element in which students develop an experiment from the proposal and design stage to a final presentation of results in a poster session. Limited to 12 students per section.
N. Fakhri

8.16 Data Science in Physics
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 8.316)
Prereq: 8.04 and (6.100A, 6.100B, or permission of instructor)
Units: 3-0-9
______
Aims to present modern computational methods by providing realistic, contemporary examples of how these computational methods apply to physics research. Designed around research modules in which each module provides experience with a specific scientific challenge. Modules include: analyzing LIGO open data; measuring electroweak boson to quark decays; understanding the cosmic microwave background; and lattice QCD/Ising model. Experience in Python helpful but not required. Lectures are viewed outside of class; in-class time is dedicated to problem-solving and discussion. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
Staff

8.18 Research Problems in Undergraduate Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Opportunity for undergraduates to engage in experimental or theoretical research under the supervision of a staff member. Specific approval required in each case.
L. Winslow
No textbook information available

8.19 Readings in Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Supervised reading and library work. Choice of material and allotment of time according to individual needs. For students who want to do work not provided for in the regular subjects. Specific approval required in each case.
L. Winslow
No textbook information available

Undergraduate Elective Subjects

8.20 Introduction to Special Relativity
______

Undergrad (IAP) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus I (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 2-0-7
______
Introduces the basic ideas and equations of Einstein's special theory of relativity. Topics include Lorentz transformations, length contraction and time dilation, four vectors, Lorentz invariants, relativistic energy and momentum, relativistic kinematics, Doppler shift, space-time diagrams, relativity paradoxes, and some concepts of general relativity. Intended for freshmen and sophomores. Not usable as a restricted elective by Physics majors. Credit cannot be received for 8.20 if credit for 8.033 is or has been received in the same or prior terms.
Staff

8.21 Physics of Energy
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR), Chemistry (GIR), and Physics II (GIR)
Units: 5-0-7
______
A comprehensive introduction to the fundamental physics of energy systems that emphasizes quantitative analysis. Focuses on the fundamental physical principles underlying energy processes and on the application of these principles to practical calculations. Applies mechanics and electromagnetism to energy systems; introduces and applies basic ideas from thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. Examines energy sources, conversion, transport, losses, storage, conservation, and end uses. Analyzes the physics of side effects, such as global warming and radiation hazards. Provides students with technical tools and perspective to evaluate energy choices quantitatively at both national policy and personal levels.
Staff

8.223 Classical Mechanics II
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 2-0-4
______
A broad, theoretical treatment of classical mechanics, useful in its own right for treating complex dynamical problems, but essential to understanding the foundations of quantum mechanics and statistical physics. Generalized coordinates, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, canonical transformations, and Poisson brackets. Applications to continuous media. The relativistic Lagrangian and Maxwell's equations.
M. Williams

8.224 Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity and Astrophysics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 8.033 or 8.20
Units: 3-0-9
______
Study of physical effects in the vicinity of a black hole as a basis for understanding general relativity, astrophysics, and elements of cosmology. Extension to current developments in theory and observation. Energy and momentum in flat space-time; the metric; curvature of space-time near rotating and nonrotating centers of attraction; trajectories and orbits of particles and light; elementary models of the Cosmos. Weekly meetings include an evening seminar and recitation. The last third of the term is reserved for collaborative research projects on topics such as the Global Positioning System, solar system tests of relativity, descending into a black hole, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves, Gravity Probe B, and more advanced models of the cosmos. Subject has online components that are open to selected MIT alumni. Alumni wishing to participate should contact Professor Bertschinger at edbert@mit.edu. Limited to 40.
Staff

8.225[J] Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as STS.042[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the changing roles of physics and physicists during the 20th century. Topics range from relativity theory and quantum mechanics to high-energy physics and cosmology. Examines the development of modern physics within shifting institutional, cultural, and political contexts, such as physics in Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, US efforts during World War II, and physicists' roles during the Cold War. Enrollment limited.
D. I. Kaiser

8.226 Forty-three Orders of Magnitude
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: (8.04 and 8.044) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the widespread societal implications of current scientific discoveries in physics across forty-three orders of magnitude in length scale. Addresses topics ranging from climate change to nuclear nonproliferation. Students develop their ability to express concepts at a level accessible to the public and to present a well-reasoned argument on a topic that is a part of the national debate. Requires diverse writing assignments, including substantial papers. Enrollment limited.
J. Gore

8.228 Relativity II
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Prereq: 8.033 or permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-4
______
A fast-paced and intensive introduction to general relativity, covering advanced topics beyond the 8.033 curriculum. Provides students with a foundation for research relying on knowledge of general relativity, including gravitational waves and cosmology. Additional topics in curvature, weak gravity, and cosmology.
Staff

8.231 Physics of Solids I
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 8.044; Coreq: 8.05
Units: 4-0-8
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1-2.30 (4-261) Recitation: F2 (2-135)
______
Introduction to the basic concepts of the quantum theory of solids. Topics: periodic structure and symmetry of crystals; diffraction; reciprocal lattice; chemical bonding; lattice dynamics, phonons, thermal properties; free electron gas; model of metals; Bloch theorem and band structure, nearly free electron approximation; tight binding method; Fermi surface; semiconductors, electrons, holes, impurities; optical properties, excitons; and magnetism.
L. Ju
No textbook information available

8.241 Introduction to Biological Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and (8.044 or (5.601 and 5.602))
Units: 4-0-8
Credit cannot also be received for 20.315, 20.415
______
Introduces the main concepts of biological physics, with a focus on biophysical phenomena at the molecular and cellular scales. Presents the role of entropy and diffusive transport in living matter; challenges to life resulting from the highly viscous environment present at microscopic scales, including constraints on force, motion and transport within cells, tissues, and fluids; principles of how cellular machinery (e.g., molecular motors) can convert electro-chemical energy sources to mechanical forces and motion. Also covers polymer physics relevant to DNA and other biological polymers, including the study of configurations, fluctuations, rigidity, and entropic elasticity. Meets with 20.315 and 20.415 when offered concurrently.
Staff

8.245[J] Viruses, Pandemics, and Immunity
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 5.003[J], 10.382[J], HST.439[J])
(Subject meets with 5.002[J], 10.380[J], HST.438[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1
______
Covers the history of infectious diseases, basics of virology, immunology, and epidemiology, and ways in which diagnostic tests, vaccines, and antiviral therapies are currently designed and manufactured. Examines the origins of inequities in infection rates in society, and issues pertinent to vaccine safety. Final project explores how to create a more pandemic-resilient world. HST.438 intended for first-year students; all others should take HST.439.
A. Chakraborty

8.251 String Theory for Undergraduates
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: 8.033, 8.044, and 8.05
Units: 4-0-8
Credit cannot also be received for 8.821
______
Introduction to the main concepts of string theory, i.e., quantum mechanics of a relativistic string. Develops aspects of string theory and makes it accessible to students familiar with basic electromagnetism and statistical mechanics, including the study of D-branes and string thermodynamics. Meets with 8.821 when offered concurrently.
H. Liu

8.276 Nuclear and Particle Physics
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.033 and 8.04
Units: 4-0-8
______
Presents a modern view of the fundamental structure of matter. Starting from the Standard Model, which views leptons and quarks as basic building blocks of matter, establishes the properties and interactions of these particles. Explores applications of this phenomenology to both particle and nuclear physics. Emphasizes current topics in nuclear and particle physics research at MIT. Intended for students with a basic knowledge of relativity and quantum physics concepts.
Staff

8.277 Introduction to Particle Accelerators
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: (6.2300 or 8.07) and permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Principles of acceleration: beam properties; linear accelerators, synchrotrons, and storage rings. Accelerator technologies: radio frequency cavities, bending and focusing magnets, beam diagnostics. Particle beam optics and dynamics. Special topics: measures of accelerators performance in science, medicine and industry; synchrotron radiation sources; free electron lasers; high-energy colliders; and accelerators for radiation therapy. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 12 units.
Staff

8.282[J] Introduction to Astronomy
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
(Same subject as 12.402[J])
Prereq: Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-0-6
______
Quantitative introduction to the physics of planets, stars, galaxies and our universe, from origin to ultimate fate, with emphasis on the physics tools and observational techniques that enable our understanding. Topics include our solar system, extrasolar planets; our Sun and other "normal" stars, star formation, evolution and death, supernovae, compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, stellar-mass black holes); galactic structure, star clusters, interstellar medium, dark matter; other galaxies, quasars, supermassive black holes, gravitational waves; cosmic large-scale structure, origin, evolution and fate of our universe, inflation, dark energy, cosmic microwave background radiation, gravitational lensing, 21cm tomography. Not usable as a restricted elective by Physics majors.
Staff

8.284 Modern Astrophysics
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 8.04
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2-3.30 (4-145) +final
______
Application of physics (Newtonian, statistical, and quantum mechanics; special and general relativity) to fundamental processes that occur in celestial objects. Includes main-sequence stars, collapsed stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes), pulsars, galaxies, active galaxies, quasars, and cosmology. Electromagnetic and gravitational radiation signatures of astrophysical phenomena explored through examination of observational data. No prior knowledge of astronomy required.
M. Mcdonald
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.286 The Early Universe
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (4-265)
______
Introduction to modern cosmology. First half deals with the development of the big bang theory from 1915 to 1980, and latter half with recent impact of particle theory. Topics: special relativity and the Doppler effect, Newtonian cosmological models, introduction to non-Euclidean spaces, thermal radiation and early history of the universe, big bang nucleosynthesis, introduction to grand unified theories and other recent developments in particle theory, baryogenesis, the inflationary universe model, and the evolution of galactic structure.
A. Guth
No textbook information available

8.287[J] Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy
______

Undergrad (Fall) Institute Lab
(Same subject as 12.410[J])
Prereq: 8.282, 12.409, or other introductory astronomy course
Units: 3-4-8
Add to schedule Lecture: MWF2 (4-231) Lab: M EVE (7-9 PM) (37-294)
______
Fundamental physical and optical principles used for astronomical measurements at visible wavelengths and practical methods of astronomical observations. Topics: astronomical coordinates, time, optics, telescopes, photon counting, signal-to-noise ratios, data analysis (including least-squares model fitting), limitations imposed by the Earth's atmosphere on optical observations, CCD detectors, photometry, spectroscopy, astrometry, and time variability. Project at Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. Written and oral project reports. Limited to 18; preference to Course 8 and Course 12 majors and minors.
M. Person, R. Teague
No textbook information available

8.290[J] Extrasolar Planets: Physics and Detection Techniques
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
(Same subject as 12.425[J])
(Subject meets with 12.625)
Prereq: 8.03 and 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR10.30-12 (54-517)
______
Presents basic principles of planet atmospheres and interiors applied to the study of extrasolar planets. Focuses on fundamental physical processes related to observable extrasolar planet properties. Provides a quantitative overview of detection techniques. Introduction to the feasibility of the search for Earth-like planets, biosignatures and habitable conditions on extrasolar planets. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
S. Seager
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.292[J] Fluid Physics
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Same subject as 1.066[J], 12.330[J])
Prereq: 5.60, 8.044, or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
A physics-based introduction to the properties of fluids and fluid systems, with examples drawn from a broad range of sciences, including atmospheric physics and astrophysics. Definitions of fluids and the notion of continuum. Equations of state and continuity, hydrostatics and conservation of momentum; ideal fluids and Euler's equation; viscosity and the Navier-Stokes equation. Energy considerations, fluid thermodynamics, and isentropic flow. Compressible versus incompressible and rotational versus irrotational flow; Bernoulli's theorem; steady flow, streamlines and potential flow. Circulation and vorticity. Kelvin's theorem. Boundary layers. Fluid waves and instabilities. Quantum fluids.
L. Bourouiba

8.295 Practical Experience in Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 0-1-0 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For Course 8 students participating in off-campus experiences in physics. Before registering for this subject, students must have an internship offer from a company or organization and must identify a Physics advisor. Upon completion of the project, student must submit a letter from the company or organization describing the work accomplished, along with a substantive final report from the student approved by the MIT advisor. Subject to departmental approval. Consult departmental academic office.
L. Winslow
No textbook information available

8.298 Selected Topics in Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Presentation of topics of current interest, with content varying from year to year.
L. Winslow
No textbook information available

8.299 Physics Teaching
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For qualified undergraduate students interested in gaining some experience in teaching. Laboratory, tutorial, or classroom teaching under the supervision of a faculty member. Students selected by interview.
Fall: L. Winslow
Spring: Winslow, Lindley
No textbook information available

8.EPE UPOP Engineering Practice Experience
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Engineering School-Wide Elective Subject.
(Offered under: 1.EPE, 2.EPE, 3.EPE, 6.EPE, 8.EPE, 10.EPE, 15.EPE, 16.EPE, 20.EPE, 22.EPE)
Prereq: None
Units: 0-0-1 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule Lab: M11 (3-333) or M1 (3-442) or W11 (3-333) or W1 (3-133) or F11 (3-333) or F1 (37-212)
______
Provides students with skills to prepare for and excel in the world of industry. Emphasizes practical application of career theory and professional development concepts. Introduces students to relevant and timely resources for career development, provides students with tools to embark on a successful internship search, and offers networking opportunities with employers and MIT alumni. Students work in groups, led by industry mentors, to improve their resumes and cover letters, interviewing skills, networking abilities, project management, and ability to give and receive feedback. Objective is for students to be able to adapt and contribute effectively to their future employment organizations. A total of two units of credit is awarded for completion of the fall and subsequent spring term offerings. Application required; consult UPOP website for more information.
Fall: D. Fordell, C. Greaney
Spring: D. Fordell, C. Greaney
No textbook information available

8.S014 Special Subject: Physics
(New)
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-4
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S02 Special Subject: Physics
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 1-0-2 [P/D/F]
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
P. Dourmashkin

8.S198 Special Subject: Physics
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S199 Special Subject: Physics
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S227 Special Subject: Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S271 Special Subject: Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-4
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
R. Redwine

8.S30 Special Subject: Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall, Spring)
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9.30-11 (2-103) Recitation: F10 (2-103)
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
A. Frebel
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.S50 Special Subject: Physics
______

Undergrad (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.UR Undergraduate Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Research opportunities in physics. For further information, contact the departmental UROP coordinator.
Fall: Winslow, Lindley
IAP: Winslow, Lindley
Spring: Winslow, Lindley
Summer: Winslow, Lindley
Textbooks arranged individually

8.THU Undergraduate Physics Thesis
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Program of research leading to the writing of an S.B. thesis; to be arranged by the student under approved supervision.
Fall: Winslow, Lindley
IAP: Winslow, Lindley
Spring: Winslow, Lindley
Summer: Winslow, Lindley
Textbooks arranged individually


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Produced: 22-JUL-2024 05:10 PM